Remember when MTV actually stood for “Music Television”? No? Well, the ORANGE Music staff does, and we’re still bitter about the change. At a ripe average age of just 20, we might be dating ourselves this week, but we consider these music videos game-changers in a field that is rapidly becoming a dying art.
Britny: “Home Sweet Home” — Mötley Crüe (1985 version)
From the opening phone call montage, to the footage of the road through the bus window, the stage construction and the band finally playing, Mötley Crüe’s “Home Sweet Home” video is a cheesy ‘80s dream come true. Only adding to the hairspray-tinged magic are the ridiculous “Theatre of Pain” costumes (The spandex! The polka dots! The pink underwear!) and the fact that the video was filmed at the now-demolished Reunion Arena in Dallas. Ultimately, the vid is campy and downright comical at times, but it still strikes a chord with me, especially now that Mötley’s days are numbered. I may never see them again, but I’ll always have “Home Sweet Home.”
Jenna: “Holding Onto You” — Twenty One Pilots
A combination of beauty and struggle, this video is the essence of Twenty One Pilots’ music. The skeleton faces show the dissonance between these emotions. The video displays the strength of the band while capturing the imagery of eloquent dancers.
Devonshire: “Hey Jane” — Spiritualized
This may not be the short, lighthearted, dance-along YouTube gem you’ve been looking for. Director AG Rojas tells a deep, gritty story of love and loyalty between transgendered prostitute and sons. Unlike most music videos, the sex and violence are portrayed without glamor, not shying away from the darkness of the subject. Resembling more of a short film in terms of length, quality acting and emotional poignancy, this music video exemplifies the unmatched power of music with a narrative, and vice versa.
María: “I Won’t Let You Down” — OK Go
If OK Go has a name to live up to, it is “Creators of Easily the Best Music Videos Ever Made.” Everyone remembers the classic treadmills in “Here It Goes Again,” the Rube Goldberg machine in “This Too Shall Pass” and the trained dogs in “White Knuckles.” The latest installment in their series of one-shot, mind-blowingly precise videos, “I Won’t Let You Down,“ takes umbrellas and turns them into art props, creating a captivating and jaw-dropping video — all atop an incredibly catchy tune. If you watch the video until the end, I guarantee you won’t regret it. Snaps again, OK Go.
Tess: “Hey Ya” — Outkast
Three words: silky green pants. Everything about Outkast’s “Hey Ya” music video is ridiculous in all the right ways. Inspired by The Beatles’ performance on the Ed Sullivan Show, Andre 3000 joins the rest of his eight band members onstage and woos a crowd of adoring fans. I can’t quite choose what the best part of the video is: Polaroid cameras appearing out of nowhere? The bright green decoration theme? The typical squealing Catholic school girls with their teacher accompanying them? You choose.
Adam: “Never Catch Me” — Flying Lotus
As the nation mourns over the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, John Crawford and countless other young black men who have lost their lives, Flying Lotus’s video offers a hopeful perspective on death. Taking place at a funeral, the video shows two black children rising from their caskets and dancing joyously to “Never Catch Me.” Their loved ones attending the funeral do not see this, which leads the viewers to believe Lotus is implying this is what happens after death — not oblivion, but happiness. Cinematically, the video is beautiful, but Lotus was able to create something that sticks with the audience emotionally, long after it’s over.
Lauren: “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” — My Chemical Romance
Basically every weirdo that was made fun of in junior high made this song their anthem. My Chemical Romance gave hope to all the losers that they weren’t alone, whether they failed tests or were bullied by jocks. For a few minutes, this video lets viewers live vicariously through the band as they tackle the school mascot and jump out of lockers, giving the viewer a taste of that angsty revenge he/she has always felt but never acted on.
Quinton: “Until The Quiet Comes” – Flying Lotus
Although MTV’s golden age is behind us, the internet and Youtube have opened the floodgates for music videos and provided a platform for any dreamer with a camera to create. Director Khalil Joseph (Video Girl, Wildcat) and Flying Lotus’ “Until the Quiet Comes” is a shining example of these creations. Scored by Fly Lo’s soul-gripping sonics, we watch a trip to the afterlife, a theme that Flying Lotus has explored through his music as well as other videos. A young man dances away from his neighborhood into the night after being killed by a gunshot, as underwater images and dreamy shots of children playing perfectly match the tone of the song. The first time I watched this video, it felt like it was hours long, but it clocks in at only four minutes. Isn’t that how dreams work?
Bryan: “Nothin’ But a Good Time” — Poison
Poison circa 1988 represented everything I want out of life: huge riffs, beautiful women and sky-high hair. The video to the smash hit off their sophomore album, “Open Up and Say… Ahh!” is corny, excessive and lacking a drop of subtlety — which is exactly why it holds up so well 25 years later. Watching the band prance around a spotlight-drenched stage in their painted-on leather pants and Barbie doll makeup, nailing their synchronized spins without the faintest hint of irony, it becomes clear that these four dudes were simply living in the moment. Forget about long-term prospects, forget about critical acclaim, forget about bold social commentary. For at least three and a half minutes, Poison was determined to have, quite literally, nothin’ but a good time.